William Donald Carmichael, Jr.
When William Carmichael decided to give up his Wall Street stock tickers for the controller's desk of the Greater University, another Carolina alumnus in New York wired him congratulations for "reversing Lucifer's flight and making a non-stop flight from Heavan to Hell," (Harward 6).
Carmichael entered UNC as an undergraduate in 1917. As a student, he played basketball for four years and was the business manager for The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper. During his senior year, he was so far behind in his classwork he had to pass 28 hours a quarter to graduate (Harward 7).
T.J. Wilson, the head registrar, "'did his damnedest to keep me from getting back in school and then swore I'd never graduate," Carmichael said in 1941. 'Every time he passed me on the street, he'd stop and tell me I wouldn't make it. I guess I wouldn't have, at that, if it hadn't been for his heckling.'" (Harward 7).
After graduating he moved to New York to work on Wall Street where he made and then lost a lot of money on the stock market in 1929 and 1930. He reportedly gave up a six figure salary to return as controller for the university system. He served as controller for both NCSU in Raleigh and the Woman's College in Greensboro (now the co-educational University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and helped to breakdown the antagonism the 'step-children' had for UNC-CH.
"It was not so much the president and the trustees of the University who brought Billy back to Chapel Hill. It was the love of the University which ever reaches out across all the miles and the years to hold her sons and daughters closer to her great heart. It was rather the historic halls of other centuries, the rock walls and playing fields, the ancient heritage and youthful hpes of Alma Mater which drew him with the pull of the company of the loya fellowship of light, liberty and learning, as one of the most precious and pwoerful expression of the human spirit. It was rather a bit of sacred earth in Chapel Hill where sleeps amids gracious beauty and reverent care the immortal spirit of the noble woman who gave him his life . . ."(Trustees).
Between 1940 and 1960, Carmichael was the stable point in the University's administration. At various times he was Controller, Vice-President and Fincance Officer, and Acting President. He presided over the most extensive period of building and expansion in the University's history. As part of the University's contribution to war effort durring World War II, he was the driving force behind the building of the Horace Williams Airport and the foundation of UNC's Naval ROTC program which until the 1990's had produced more naval officers than any other institution (in the 1990's it was surpassed by the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis).
"He came home again" Bucky Harward, The Carolina Magazine 1941pg 6-7.
"William Donald Carmichael, Jr. 1900-1961" - Tribute By the Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina, February 27, 1961.